ON THE CHANGE OF REFRANGIBILITY OF LIGHT.
kind of internal dispersion which is characterized by the "quaqua-versus polarization/' the phenomenon of false dispersion ceases to be of much interest in an optical point of view; while on the other hand the phenomenon of true dispersion, which had always been very remarkable, is now calculated to excite a great additional interest. It will be convenient to mention here the principal characters by which true and false dispersion may be distinguished, although it will be anticipating in some measure the results of observations yet to be described.
26. In true dispersion the dispersed light has a perfectly continuous appearance. In false dispersion, on the other hand, it has generally more or less of a sparkling appearance, and on close inspection is either wholly resolved into bright specks, or so far resolved as to leave on the mind the impression that if the resolution be not complete it is only for want of a sufficient magnifying power.
In true dispersion the dispersed light is perfectly unpolarized. In false dispersion, on the contrary, at a proper inclination the light is almost perfectly polarized in the plane of reflexion.
In false dispersion, which is merely a phenomenon of reflexion, the dispersed light has of course the same refrangibility as the incident light. In true dispersion heterogeneous dispersed light arises from a homogeneous beam incident on the body by which the dispersion is produced.
27. In those bodies, whether solid or liquid, which possess in a high degree the power of internal dispersion, the colour thence arising may be seen by exposing the body to ordinary daylight, looking at it in such a direction that the regularly reflected light does not enter the eye, and excluding transmitted light by placing a piece of black cloth or velvet behind, or by some similar contrivance. It has been usual to speak of the colour so exhibited as displayed by reflexion. As however the cause now appears to be so very different from ordinary reflexion, it seems objectionable to continue to use that term without qualification, and I shall accordingly speak of the phenomenon as dispersive reflexion*. Thus
* I confess I do not like this term. I am almost inclined to coin a word, and call the appearance fluorescence, from fluor-spar, as the analogous term opalescence is derived from the name of a mineral.
S. III. 19